Author(s): Tom Jackson
Astronomers today believe that the Universe may have begun 13.7 billion years ago, when its entire energy, mass, space, and even time, expanded out from a single point. New, empty space was lit by innumerable baby stars and infant galaxies, their light finally reaching Earth many billions of years later. Every scientific discovery about space and the stars—their beginnings as well as our own—derives from this ancient light. Here we track the history of the Universe and our quest to find our place within it. The story begins among the rough-hewn rocks of ancient megaliths such as Stonehenge, positioned to catch the rising Sun. It continues when the Greek genius Aristarchus pictures the geometry of Earth, Moon, and Sun, revealing the huge empty spaces between them; when Edwin Hubble shows that the Universe is getting ever larger; and when Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky finds that most of the Universe is missing. These moments were turning points, when years of accumulated thought converged upon one astronomer’s obsession, to turn a confounding puzzle into a discovery that changed the way we see the world. We call these Ponderables. Here you’ll find the life and works of great astronomers as they watch the night sky, build observatories, discover galaxies, spot new objects and send probes into space. Together the insights of these great thinkers create an increasingly precise picture of an ever-expanding universe, one still full of mystery. Today, the largest telescopes ever designed are probing farther into the Universe, deeper into the past, looking for clues to constantly evolving questions. What are today’s Imponderables, mysteries yet to be solved? Where will they lead? What will be the next discovery? Includes a removable fold-out concertina neatly housed in the back of the book. This fold-out provides a 12-page Timeline History of the Universe that embeds the story in historical context and shows Who Did What When at a glance. On the reverse side is a 12 page Star Chart of the Night Sky of the northern and southern hemisphere for every month.